Radio Doppler Tracking Continues at Cape York

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, “Amboy,” including an extended Microscopic Imager mosaic, and continued collection of the 13-filter 360-degree “Greeley” panorama.

Additionally, during the late afternoon radio Doppler tracking passes, the rover is collecting spectacular low-light (low sun elevation) images. Decreasing energy levels with the approach to the winter solstice has constrained conducting both a radio Doppler tracking pass and an afternoon Ultra High Frequency relay pass on the same sol.

The operations team performs energy trades on the tactical timeline as to which, if not both, of these communication passes are performed on a given sol. On Sol 2846 (Jan. 25, 2012), a low-light Panoramic Camera (Pancam) image was collected during the late afternoon radio Doppler tracking pass.

On the next sol, the robotic arm was used to re-place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on the target Amboy for multi-sol integration. More radio Doppler tracking passes with Pancam low-light imagery were performed over the next sols.

On Sol 2852 (Feb. 1, 2012), the robotic arm collected a Microscopic Imager mosaic, part of an extended mosaic campaign, of the surface area that includes the target Amboy.

The Moessbauer spectrometer was then placed on Amboy for a multi-sol integration. New parameters are being used to optimize the Moessbauer spectrometer performance.

As of Sol 2852 (Feb. 1, 2012), solar array energy production was 270 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.679 and a solar array dust factor of 0.469.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).

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